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Shutdown Corner

10 who lost at this year’s scouting combine

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Vontaze Burfict now has time to wonder about a very questionable combine. (AP)

The scouting combine provides an opportunity for prospects to deliver on expectations or risk taking a hit to their draft stock. Not everyone left Indianapolis with smiles on their faces.

QB Brock Osweiler, Arizona State -- A one-year starter in college, Osweiler said at the combine that he was almost fully recovered from the foot sprain that kept him from training for the 40-yard dash, but the decision not to throw could be costly. Osweiler can make every throw, but questions remain about his ability to get out of the pocket and make those passes work on the move. Everything now comes down to his Pro Day on March 30.

WR Kendall Wright, Baylor -- Robert Griffin III's favorite target, Wright was expected to come to the combine and show off his potential as a speed slot receiver in the Victor Cruz/DeSean Jackson mold. But he looked chunky, didn't run very well (an official 4.61 40), and really struggled with speed cuts in drills.

TE Cory Harkey, UCLA -- The 2012 class of tight ends isn't a strong one, but Harkey was seen by some as an interesting hybrid player -- a good receiver and a solid blocker. However, he ran a 5.11 40 at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds, and the 13 reps he put up in the bench will have some teams wondering about his upper-body strength.

[ Related: Ten players who won at the scouting combine ]

OT Mike Adams, Ohio State -- Speaking of the bench press ... well, it's usually a pretty good indicator for linemen on either side of the ball. Adams, who's still dealing with questions about his overall game, put up just 19 reps. That's a bit of a problem for a player who might be asked to kick over to right tackle in the NFL -- a position that generally requires more power.

DE Vinny Curry, Marshall -- One of many speed rushers in this draft class (at least on tape), Curry has to be flummoxed by the 4.98 40 he put up at the combine. The 2011 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year put up some big numbers at Marshall, but his slow time may have sealed what some experts believe -- that at the NFL level, Curry may lack the technique to affect quarterbacks, and he may have to accept a place as a bigger 4-3 end or hybrid player.

DT Michael Brockers, LSU -- The top-ranked defensive tackle on most boards, Brockers has been seen as a near-sure thing (or, as close as one player can be in this process). His long arms, so often an asset on the field, worked against him when he could only put up 19 reps in the bench press. Brockers ran an alarmingly slow 5.36 40 and finished very low in other drills -- 26.5 inches in the vertical jump, and 4.81 seconds in the short shuttle. "I'm blessed to have this frame and still be quick with it," Brockers said during his media session. "I feel like at 322 [pounds], I can move a lot better than some other guys can move. So I feel like that's my biggest strength. How big I am and how quick I am." That may be true on tape, but Brockers didn't do himself any favors in Indy.

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Courtney Upshaw wasn't terrible at the combine, but more was expected. (AP)

OLB Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State -- General rule of thumb: When you're the NCAA's poster child for on-field penalties, and you throw your coaches under the bus during your combine media session, you'd better tear it up during the drills. Burfict did no such thing, running a 5.09 40 and looking less than impressive in positional drills. Burfict has a rep as a player who would rather go for the kill shot than the fundamentally correct tackle, and quotes like this won't help his case: "I played average," Burfict said of his 2011 season. "I could've played better. That's what hurt me at times. The coaches kind of messed me up. I didn't know if I would start a game or be benched. It hurt me, but I tried to fight through it." True or not, the last thing any team wants to hear is a player blaming his coaches.

[ Michael Silver: NFL needs to make the scouting combine more accessible ]

OLB Courtney Upshaw, Alabama -- Upshaw has been projected by most NFL teams as a possible 3-4 outside linebacker, and with his pass rush ability (not to mention the versatility with which Alabama defenders are expected to play), it was thought that he could match Melvin Ingram's success in combine drills. But he didn't seem especially quick around the edge, appeared to be a bit one-dimensional, struggled in coverage drills, and didn't flash elite athleticism. Those watching Upshaw on tape will likely move past those issues because he does have great fundamentals, but Upshaw could have come out of the combine with a lot more buzz.

CB Cliff Harris, Oregon -- As it was with Burfict, Harris was unable to transcend a litany of concerns with a great combine performance. The multiple suspensions and eventual dismissal from Oregon were bad enough, but when Harris couldn't even break 4.6 and looked logey in position drills, he might as well have put "Buyer Beware" on the back of his jersey.

CB Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina -- Norman still has the tape of the East-West Shrine Game to buttress his stock -- he was one of the true standouts in the contest -- but the official 4.66 40 he ran at the combine will have some wondering about his applicable speed at the next level. Primarily a press corner, Norman may struggle to keep pace with the NFL's faster pass-catchers.

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